Percutaneous Balloon Valvuloplasty or Balloon Valvuloplasty is a surgical procedure that is primarily used in medical science to open a constricted or blocked heart valve. In this procedure, a catheter is inserted through an artery in the arm or groin directed into the heart. As the catheter reaches the constricted heart valve, a large balloon placed at the tip of the tube/catheter is inflated to widen the narrowed valve opening.
To facilitate incessant blood flow to the heart, there are valves connecting the four pumping chambers of the heart, viz.:
Tricuspid valve: Linking the right atrium with the right ventricle
Mitral valve: Joining the left atrium with the left ventricle
Pulmonic or Pulmonary valve: Situated between the pulmonary artery and the right ventricle of the heart
Aortic valve: Situated between the aorta and the left ventricle
Any problem or damage in a valve may cause:
Valve Stenosis: causing constriction of the valve opening that restricts the blood flow via valve.
Valve Regurgitation: causing inability to close the valve properly. This, in turn, leads to the backflow of the blood via the leaky valve.
Even though any valve may get affected by the aforementioned problems, the aortic and mitral valves are the ones that often become diseased.
Why Balloon Valvuloplasty?
While there are no clearly defined indications for balloon valvuloplasty, your doctor may recommend balloon valvuloplasty procedure if the patient is experiencing any of the following symptoms:
- Chest pain
- Breathing problems
- Abrupt weight gain owing to the fluid retention
- Besides, there may be various other explanations that may prompt your specialist to propose a valvuloplasty balloon method. However, it is often not advocated for people with aortic valve stenosis.
Percutaneous Balloon Valvuloplasty: Procedure
This procedure is performed to improve the blood flow and valve function of the heart by expanding the valve opening. During the surgery, the patient’s body is connected to the ECG or electrocardiogram monitor, which records the heart’s electrical activities. Subsequently, a valvuloplasty catheter is inserted into the blood vessel across the heart valve and contrast dye is injected. Consecutively, the balloon is inflated to open the constricted valve. Once the valve is sufficiently widened, catheter is removed and the insertion site is closed via a closure device.
Risks Associated with Balloon Valvuloplasty
Although the complications associated with this procedure are minimal, there are possibilities of developing serious complications including:
- Bleeding due to catheter insertion
- Blood clot or impairment to blood vessel at the site of catheter insertion
- Substantial blood loss necessitating blood transfusion
- Infection at the site of catheter insertion
- Abnormal heart beats
- Valve leakage and/or rupture
Post Valvuloplasty Care
Post-surgery, the patient is advised to take appropriate rest and use ice packs for decreasing swelling followed by the procedure. In addition, your heart specialist may frequently recommend taking deep breaths and coughing often to minimize the risk of developing lung infection. To aid fast recovery of a patient, certain medications may be prescribed, including:
- Antianxiety medicine: to reduce anxiety and makes a person feels relaxed.
- Pain killers: to reduce the pain post-surgery